Why Web Application Testing is Critical to Your Enterprise’s Security
If you’re not subjecting your third-party web applications to web application security testing, you could be leaving the door wide open for hackers to obtain sensitive company data. Even if you’re using web applications developed by the most highly regarded vendors, there could still be hidden vulnerabilities that lead to breaches. Even some of the world’s major brands have had application vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection or cross-site scripting (XSS) discovered well after deployment.
Proactive Approaches to Web Application Security are Cheaper in the Long Run
The problem with taking a reactive approach to web application security is that it can be far more costly than simply taking preventative security measures to block these attacks in the first place. While web application security testing is an investment, you could be saving your company hundreds of thousands of dollars in recovering data and damage control should a major security breach occur. Web application security testing solutions, such as those offered by Veracode.com, provide a comprehensive view of vulnerabilities. Armed with this information, you can take steps to secure your company’s data before a breach occurs—potentially saving millions of dollars.
Expert analysts estimate that approximately three-fourths of cyber attacks occur at the web application level. And nearly as many (70 percent) are at risk of immediate attack. Common vulnerabilities, including XSS, SQL injection and others, abound across the web. The sheer abundance of these application vulnerabilities makes web applications an easy target for hackers, and they’re taking advantage. As more and more essential enterprise data is being stored in web applications, securing these applications against the many potential risks is vital to an organization’s survival.
The cost of a cyber attack extends far beyond the immediate impact, encompassing:
- Reputation management concerns
- Loss of consumer trust
- Data recovery costs
- Business downtime due to payment processing interruptions
- Possible legal fees to resolve customer impacts
- And more
Web Application Attacks Make History with Devastating Impacts
Some of the largest, most well-known and widest-reaching security breaches in history have been web application attacks. Imperva names web application security the biggest risk facing modern enterprises. Web applications aren’t just easy targets for hackers, they can also be extremely lucrative, providing access to vast amounts of secure data, such as social security numbers, login authentication credentials, credit card and bank account numbers, financial transaction history and more.
A full 100 percent of organizations surveyed in 2010 report having suffered a web-based attack at some point. And web application attacks can be minor or have significant financial impacts—one attack at a well-known retailer resulted in the loss of more than $256 million thanks to the exposure of 45 million records through SQL injection. No organization, regardless of its size, is immune to the threats that exist at the web application level without consistent and thorough testing and remediation of vulnerabilities.
Web Application Testing Doesn’t Have to be Difficult
Smaller enterprises may think that they’re less likely to be targeted by hackers, who are primarily preying on the more lucrative big-name brands. But this is one of the most common myths surrounding web application security. In truth, attackers are increasingly targeting smaller companies.
The National Cyber Security Alliance estimates that about 83 percent of small companies (defined as those with 250 employees or less) have no formal cyber security protocols in place. Yet Verizon reports that among more than 600 security breaches it recorded in 2011, nearly half targeted enterprises with less than 1,000 employees. Another report indicates almost one-third (31 percent) of cyber attacks target companies with fewer than 100 employees.
In short, no enterprise is safe from cyber crime. In today’s cyber threat landscape, enterprises must take a proactive approach. Using proven web application security testing services, modern enterprises can avoid the devastating consequences a security breach at the web application level can create.